$35,750 USD | Sold
| Hershey, Pennsylvania
- Oldsmobile’s top-of-the-line luxury convertible
- The peak of General Motors’ 1950s styling
- Largely original and charming condition
- Well-equipped throughout
General Motors began developing its 1958 models in 1955, when postwar America was in a prosperity boom and its citizens wanted automobiles tailored to their new lives. The results were vast automobiles with high-performance engines, glassy rooflines, and glorious expanses of chrome trim.
Oldsmobile’s 1958 model arguably represented the ultimate expression of that idea. It was not actually larger than the 1957 model; in fact, the wheelbases and chassis remained largely the same. However, the body design was all new, and considerable amounts of chrome were used to make the car appear longer and lower, including long vertical strips along the rear fenders and the “eyebrows” that trailed back from the quad headlamps. The effect was of a car that appeared to have been “painted” with chrome. Massive front and rear bumper assemblies, with the rear incorporating designer Harley Earl’s beloved jet-exhaust-inspired tail lamps, completed the ensemble. Indeed, Oldsmobile advertising this year emphasized the car’s V-8 and aircraft-inspired design as being part of the “Rocket Age.” “Scan this sparkling span of lighthearted beauty,” the copy suggested, “…captured in a tasteful new mobile look. There’s new magic in its motion.”
The 1958 Oldsmobiles represent a turning point in General Motors design, as well as the ultimate expression of the corporation’s 1950s styling. Today, they are considered some of the most important and valuable of all Detroit-built automobiles, and none more so than the deluxe Ninety-Eight Convertible. A total of 5,605 were produced at a staggering cost of $4,200 each, equipped with standard luxuries including a Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, power steering and brakes, dual exhaust, electric clock, and “lounge seats.”
This Ninety-Eight Convertible is, in addition to the aforementioned features, equipped with power windows, a power top, a power seat, an AM radio with rear antenna, and an automatic headlight dimmer, occupying a futuristic pod atop the dashboard. Acquired in 2007 by the present owner, a longtime enthusiast of 1950s American convertibles, the car was originally delivered in Tropical Mist Iridescent and is believed to have been refinished in the 1990s. Otherwise, it remains in largely original condition, with the factory three-tone interior still intact.
An appealing example for cosmetic freshening and sorting, or the best possible basis for a concours-level restoration, this Ninety-Eight represents the peak of General Motors’ styling glory, from a remarkable era when bigger truly was better.